The Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election
Brit Kitridge has decided the time is right to learn about politics from the inside, so she joins Matthew Boltanski’s team. Matthew is the popular choice for student body president and never loses an election, but the inside of Team Matthew isn’t at all what she expected. When she suspects the team of keeping secrets and starts asking questions, she gains the wrath of Matthew, but she had no idea how low the team could sink until she receives the blame for a hack that revealed sensitive e-mails. Driven to out ever secret Team Matthew has to the entire school, Brit signs up to run for study body president and with her friends at her side, she takes up her own investigation.
Though set during 2025, the story itself doesn’t read as being futuristic with events easily related to today. Only a few minor things mark the story being a few years in the future as the political topics Michael R. French addresses are timely, important, and will open up discussions. French explores the inside of politics through the various shady tactics of Team Matthew which contrast against Brit’s role to show how politics can change if put into honest hands. Brit is different from the other characters with her love of history and her strong belief in the traditions of her family, school, and community. She’s deeply tied to everything happening around her, and her strong sense of truth is what drives her every step of the way. Brit’s journey has an uplifting and hopeful evolution with her strength showing through ever time she gets back up when she’s knocked down.
The plot centers around her run for student body president and her fight against Team Matthew to uncover the truth, which is seen through a game of tug-of-war between them. Brit goes to levels that even starts to push against her own views when she’s doing things like talking back to the principal, punching, and breaking into someone’s home. French explores the idea of honesty in politics and what place the truth has for those that should be leading. Brit’s views on politics begin in a better light as she daydreamed and had this idealistic view of how things would be until she’s faced with the reality of how Team Matthew has operated. Her refusal to back down quickly turns the election into a political war with two sides clashing: one that wants to reveal the truth to the school and one that will do whatever it takes to keep secrets.
French incorporates mystery with Brit putting on a sleuthing hat and a light layer of suspense driven by the conspiracy behind Team Matthew. The story opens up an interesting comparison of politics to high school with the students changing their opinions on the candidates based upon social media posts and rumors regardless of what the truth is. French weaves together to gossip, slander, and bullying while also exploring the place rumors, name-calling, and social media has in both politics and in high school. Beginner’s Guide to Winning an Election is a great read for teens both to draw an understanding of politics and to spark inspiration to make an honest difference with a coming of age journey, a respect for history and community, and the fight for change.
|Author||Michael R. French|
|Page Count||272 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|